Christian And Humanist Views On Biblical Morality

960 words - 4 pages

Biblical Morality was framed over 2000 years ago in the Middle East where people were far more nomadic and primitive. Our western society, 2000 years on from then is obviously a lot different and therefore Humanists would say that their biblical morality is now irrelevant to our day and age. We have a range of moral issues inconceivable for biblical writers like abortion, euthanasia, transplants, contraception, genetic engineering, genetic modification, ecological issues, and biological weapons to name a few. There are rules given in the bible like the Ten Commandments but they are extraneous and inflexible. Humanists would argue that moral attitudes change so rapidly that we cannot have fixed written rules to live by. For example, laws to ban people from hitting children have only come in to place over the last twenty years. Living strictly by guidelines written over 2000 years ago seems a little irrational. Christian, William Barclay says: "The Bible is still relevant today because it contains universal and timeless moral principles." However, Modern people can resent rigid instruction like this because they value the freedom to make choices about what they think is best for their own lives.

According to Humanism, morality has nothing to do with any kind of external, supernatural power. Moral rules and values cannot come from a God because there is no God. For Humanists, moral rules and values have to be based on human experience and human reasoning, not by command of an almighty God. According to H.J. Blackham "there is no supreme exemplar of human ethics." The Humanist Manifesto says that moral values have their source in human experience and that humanists strive for the good life in the here and now. A Humanist can never accept that something is wrong simply because the Church or the Bible says it is. Nor would he accept that values could be based on what a God says. The fact that God tells us not to do something is not a good reason for regarding something as wrong.

Many Humanists and Christians also agree that there are moral values and principles, which apply to everyone wherever they live. Eric Matthews, a philosopher and humanist argues that although human beings differ in their views about what is right and wrong this should not be exaggerated. Almost all human beings would agree that those things, which encourage people to cooperate for the benefit of everybody, are good and those things, which result in conflict and make it more difficult for people to get along, are bad. Although Humanists and Christians agree on values such as cooperation, respect, justice, tolerance, and compassion, Matthews said "Humanism seems a better basis for a genuinely tolerant and mutually respectful human community than institutionalised religion". However, Christians...

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